Tag Archive: worldcup2014


If Cameroon want to stay in the World Cup they must beat Croatia tonight and they would have to do that without their Captain Samuel Eto’o who is struggling with a knee problem. Head coach Volker Finke has picked his men for the battle of Manaus in what looks like 4-3-3.

Charles Itandje returns as goalkeeper; Aurelien Chedjou and Nicolas Nkoulou would apparently remain as a the centre back partnership. Stephane Mbia drops from midfield to field the right back position while Benoit Assou-Ekotto stays at left back.

Joel Matip comes in to play as the sweeper in front of the defence. Many had expected to see the Shalke man in central defence with Nkoulou but it seems Finke wants to use his passing in midfield. The German-born manager’s midfield stalwarts: Enoh Eyong and Alex Song return. Will they have the creativity Cameroon needs in midfield to link defense and attack?

The mouth watering prospect, though, will be the opportunity to see the future Cameroon attack line. For the first time in a World Cup game since 2002, Samuel Eto’o will not be featuring in the Lions’ starting line up. In his place, the young Vincent Aboubakar has the task of leading the forward line. Flanking the former Cotonsport Garoua striker we’ll have the talented Eric Maxim. Choupo Moting and Benjamin Moukandjo.

No matter the players selected, what’s most important is whether Finke will allow the team to go forward rather than wait for their opponents.

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As expected Cameroon went into their game with Mexico looking like a 4-3-3 on paper and setting up in a 4-5-1 formation on the pitch.

Cameroon defending a free-kick versus Mexico. Did their game plan show too much respect for Mexico?

Cameroon defending a free-kick versus Mexico. Did their game plan show too much respect for Mexico?

The starting eleven: Charles Itanje (GK); Cedric Djeugoue – Nicolas N’Koulou – Aurelien Chedjou – Benoit AssouEkotto; Stephane Mbia – Alex Song – Enoh Eyong; Benjamin Moukandjo -Samuel Eto’o – Eric ChoupoMoting.

Their plan involved playing with a high defensive line (catch the Mexicans on offside), allow them keep the ball but pressure and block the spaces. It kind of paid off as it conned the match officials twice (they disallowed to valid goals on the grounds of offside).

As expected the wide forwards/midfielders dropped very deep to keep up with the Mexican wing-backs to prevent them from overwhelming the Cameroon fullbacks. The challenge here is that they were always so deep that they looked like fullbacks. At which point Mexico’s 3-5-2 formation choked Cameroon.

With everyone hemmed in with the Cameroon half, only Samuel Eto’o was left in the forward line where he was scrutinized by the three centre backs at all times. It was therefore hard to break swiftly and when this happened there was no support for the lone striker.

In the second half the Mexicans increased interplay centrally and hit penetrative balls and runs through the centre and in behind Cameroon’s slow centrebacks. That’s how they scored their lone and game winning goal (1-0).

When Cameroon went a goal behind their manager Volker Finke had to make a decision to either:

1. Maintain shape and continue to contain the Mexicans
2. Change tactics and animation ie bring in a more direct forward and ask the team to wrest possession from the Mexicans in the way the Lions did when they went behind to Germany.

He chose option 1. This meant the team did not move into third gear until late in the game when Webo was fielded and Cameroon switched to 4-4-2. It was a little late in my opinion.  There was no punch, little movement while the build up was slow.

With The lions absolutely requiring a positive result versus Croatia to keep their hopes alive, will Finke take a more open option?